On Thursday, Burger King announced @letsgolakers086 as the winner of an all-expenses paid trip to this year's Final Four. It would be the highlight of a lifetime for many people, but it's just another March for this Los Angeles woman. After all, Wheat Thins sent her to the Final Four just last year.
The Burger King Twitter contest implored people to share a photo or text explaining why they deserve to "watch like a king." @letsgolakers086's entry was nothing special, but she's read the rules. It doesn't matter what you say, because the contest is a random draw. Sure enough, a few days later, she was named a winner.
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) March 21, 2014
The prize is pretty good. First-class airline tickets, four nights in a hotel, transportation, tickets to the semifinals and championship, and $1,600 in spending money. But @letsgolakers086 knows the drill.
@WheatThins best experience of my life!! It's going to be tough adjusting to watching the tourney from home again this year! :)
— letsgolakers086 (@letsgolakers086) March 19, 2014
There is no foul play here. @letsgolakers086 is a "sweeper," one of a small but devoted group of Americans who spend much of their free time to entering any and every corporate sweepstakes. There are two separate TV shows devoted to them, and they are remarkably successful—not because they have any particularly skill, but because of their perseverance.
There are so many sweepstakes out there at any given time, many of them with relatively small numbers of entrants. @letsgolakers086's Twitter timeline is filled with literally thousands of replies, retweets, and hashtags entering her into various contests, so she's bound to win at least some of them. There are websites, newsletters, even seminars that offer to teach you how to become a sweeper, but the fundamental lesson is the same—Enter enough contests, and the odds of winning something are in your favor.
Here are just a few of @letsgolakers086 wins over the past year—and these are just the ones where winners were publicly announced.
— Dunkin' Donuts (@DunkinDonuts) January 24, 2014
— McDonald's SoCal (@McDonalds_SoCal) January 7, 2014
— Applebee's (@Applebees) January 2, 2014
— GrubHub (@GrubHub) December 19, 2013
— El Pollo Loco (@ElPolloLoco) August 15, 2013
@letsgolakers086 Great job! Please DM us for more info.!
— Green Mtn Coffee (@GreenMtnCoffee) May 22, 2013
— Air New Zealand USA (@AIRNZUSA) April 13, 2013
@letsgolakers086 Congrats on winning our Twitter Party trivia contest! Please DM us w/ your name, shipping address and jeans size! <3
— 7 FOR ALL MANKIND (@7FAM) March 25, 2013
— NEST Fragrances (@NESTFragrances) March 18, 2013
— EVOL FOODS (@EVOLfoods) March 15, 2013
The prizes are usually small, and for every win there are scores of entries that don't pay off. So maybe you don't think it's worth your time and effort to enter these contests, or maybe you'd be ashamed if your timeline were a carpet-bombing of brands. I'd tell you to ask @letsgolakers086 how she feels about it, but she's going to the Final Four and you're not.